bug repellent

a blog by @captainsafia

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My grandmother passed away today.

My grandmother passed away today.

This is the first time I’ve had someone close to me pass away and had the mental maturity to understand the somber nature of what happened. I spent the morning crying while I looked through all the photos I had of her. At some point, I mustered the courage to get up and cook some eggs. I made a bit of a mess in the kitchen. My eyes were blind from the tears. This isn’t the first such grieving that I’m going to experience in my adult life. It fucking sucks. But I’ll learn to manage it the same way I’ve learned to manage everything else.

Her name was Safia, too. Unlike me, few people know her. She doesn’t have a Twitter account with thousands of followers. She doesn’t have a blog. She doesn’t travel the world to speak at conferences. She was born and died in a little village between where the Nile splits into the Blue and White Nile.

One of the defining motivations in my career and my personal life is to lead a life that honors the sacrifices and legacies of those who made my existence possible. I feel a strong connection to my grandmother. I feel like I need to lend honor, prestige, and relevance to the name that we share. Now that she has passed away, I feel even more motivated to work hard to do just that.

As my digital presence has increased, I’ve shied away from posting things of a personal nature on the Internet. Some people can be calloused and insensitive and others don’t know how to respond empathetically to public displays of grieving (or any other hard-to-confront emotion or situation).

I write this mostly because I don’t want my grandmother to pass away in anonymity the way many women in the world do. I want to dedicate this tiny space on the Internet to her. I want to give a permanent digital memorial to a woman far separated from the digital world I find myself in all the time.

Her name was Safia. She liked to sew. She kept a coop of chickens. She had a shy and timid smile. She had a cabinet of dishes that she kept clean. She loved her grandchildren with a tender and gentle spirit. She had a traditional lip tattoo and cheek markings. She played with her hands a lot. Like many woman of her time, she was married young. She dedicated her life to her family. She had a strong devotion to her faith. She had a vivacious sparkle in her eyes. She passed away on November 30th, 2017.